IU Health Sports Performance recently hosted a weight-training seminar for women. Here’s a personal account of that experience as shared by Laura, a Beltway Surgery Center patient who enrolled in the seminar to boost her physical therapy following knee surgery last fall.
This three-part seminar was an inspiration to me as I recover from surgery that repaired damaged cartilage in my knee. The first two speakers were an athletic trainer and a bariatric health and fitness specialist who reminded me that exercise is medicine. They also shared great tips for exercising with limitations and debunked the myth that women will bulk up on a weight-training program.
- The most important part of exercise is to make sure you’re having fun. Find what you love. On the flip side, don’t force yourself to do something you hate.
- Weight lifting is for everyone. For women, it increases bone density, muscle coordination and flexibility. We won’t “bulk up” because we lack the testosterone to build really big muscles.
- One pound of weight loss reduces pressure on your knees by roughly four pounds. That’s great news for anyone who wants to prevent future knee issues.
Next up was Heather Fink, a registered dietician who specializes in sports dietetics. Information about proper nutrition changes so often that it’s baffling. One week, it’s high protein/low carbs; the next week, it’s low fat. Heather says our daily diet requires three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) to properly fuel our bodies and stay healthy.
- No matter what exercise you choose, carbohydrates are the main source of energy. Heather encouraged us to look to whole and unrefined grains as healthy options for carbs. Some examples are oatmeal, whole-wheat pitas and quinoa.
- You can also get healthy carbs from fruits and vegetables, as long as you avoid added sugar.
- Healthy options for fats include olive and canola oils. If you’re looking for something sweet, add honey or molasses.
- Proteins can come from many sources, including meat, dairy and nuts. Other sources include eggs and beans. I had no clue that beans are such a good source of protein, fiber and carbohydrates!
The last speaker was Julia Ladewski, a competitive weight lifter, ranked as the nation’s top powerlifter (at 132 lbs) in 2006. (Read her take on the event on Julia’s blog.) Julia was phenomenal. She gave an informative presentation about the benefits of weight training, including muscle stimulation, a better glycogen index, increased bone density, and an improved metabolism and body shape.
The most useful takeaway was a template for building an achievable game plan. Two things are key: 1) be reasonable in your goals, and 2) plan backwards, choosing your end-goal and the steps you need to take in reverse order.
During the second part of Julia’s presentation, she demonstrated proper form and provided tips for several exercises. While I may not be ready to jump in head first, I have a plan that incorporates chin-ups, push-ups and squats in my gym routine.
Julia challenged us to make one new goal and set a deadline to achieve it. For now, most of my goals are centered on knee rehab. But I was excited to start thinking about future accomplishments, so I’ve set what is (hopefully) a reasonable goal for me: I plan to complete the Little Miami Triathlon in October. It’s 6 miles of kayaking, 5.5 miles of running and 18 miles of cycling, so I have a lot of work to do!